King Charles III knights UK chief rabbi
The South African-born chief rabbi of Great Britain and the Commonwealth, Ephraim Mirvis, was officially knighted by King Charles III on Tuesday, 11 July, at Windsor Castle in England this week.
Mirvis was awarded the Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire, which is one of the United Kingdom’s highest honours, as part of King Charles’ New Year’s Honours List.
The chief rabbi was awarded for his service to the Jewish community, and interfaith relations and education.
“I feel exceptionally honoured and humbled to receive this honour,” Mirvis told the SA Jewish Report in January shortly after he found out about it. “I’m privileged to be given numerous opportunities to strive to achieve much, and I pray that the Almighty will bless my efforts. I would like to thank the South African Jewish community for giving me the upbringing that has been an ongoing inspiration for me to get to where I am today.”
King Charles III’s list noted Mirvis’ work in the field of interfaith dialogue and his advocacy for Uyghur Muslims suffering under oppressive policies in China. The list also noted Mirvis’ efforts to make the Orthodox world more inclusive of women and LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) Jews.
“He has been an advocate for greater inclusivity in Orthodox Jewish life, appointing Britain’s first female halachic adviser and establishing greater opportunities for female leadership and scholarship,” the list noted. “In the field of education, the chief rabbi has championed the cause of faith schools and Jewish education, and issued a guide on the well-being of LGBTQ+ pupils in Orthodox Jewish schools — the first of its kind anywhere in the world.”
This honour most recently follows his recent hosting of an imam in his community and his official visit to an Arab state at the invitation of the Abu Dhabi Forum for Peace.
The chief rabbi has launched various programmes to build bridges across faiths, including an effort to bring together Jewish and Anglican clergy, as well as the Jewish and Muslim communities in the UK.
Mirvis told the SA Jewish Report, “Jewish communities around the world are confronted by ‘the three As’: antisemitism, assimilation, and apathy. It’s our responsibility to show the relevance and beauty of authentic Torah Judaism within an increasingly secular world, to achieve and maintain Jewish unity, to excel in our social responsibility, and recognise the value of every human being.”